That George W., he's a Hummer
Just for the fun of it, AutoTrader.com, the humongous, online classified used-car listing, is holding its own presidential election of sorts. Visitors to the site are being asked to vote for the presidential candidate from whom they would buy a used car or truck. From that list 'voters' are to cast their ballot for the vehicle that best relates to their candidate's personality. Late last week, George W. Bush was ahead with 39.55 percent of the votes, followed by Al Gore with 35.07 percent. Alan Keyes and Pat Buchanan had 14.93 percent and 10.45 percent of the votes, respectively. Voters related Bush and Buchanan to the AM General Hummer; Gore to a Volvo wagon and Keyes to the Ford Edsel. An AutoTrader.com spokes-man said the poll will run indefinitely.
YOU'RE TELLING ME? Two weeks ago Chuck Fortinberry, president of Clarkston (Mich.) Chrysler-Plymouth-Jeep, was riding his Harley in Florida during motorcycle week when he needed a car. So he went to a rental agency that just happened to be part of the PT Cruiser pre-launch marketing test. Like many other Chrysler dealers, Fortinberry has a long waiting list for the new vehicle and is impatient for the cars to start arriving. So it seemed a little ironic when the counterman at the rental agency pitched the PT Cruiser, saying, 'They're so hot even dealers can't get them.' For more on the PT Crusier, see Page 54.
A MATTER OF DEGREES - David Cote, the new president of TRW Inc., is no rocket scientist, but a lot of his employees are. About 1,000 of 11,000 Los Angeles-based workers in TRW's aerospace business hold doctorates, Cote says. 'In other businesses, when you talk about somebody, maybe disparagingly, you'll say, `he's no rocket scientist,' ' he says. In Los Angeles, 'all of them are rocket scientists.'
NO COMMENT - Rumors were circulating at General Motors in Europe last week that GM was preparing to top Ford Motor Co.'s $2.9 billion bid for Land Rover. GM is alarmed, so the rumor mill said, that Ford's luxury lineup - Volvo, Jaguar, Lincoln, Aston Martin and now Land Rover - would overwhelm Cadillac and Saab. But in London last week, Bob Hendry, CEO of Adam Opel and chairman of Saab, said: 'I know of no such offer.' BMW denied the rumors, The Associated Press reported. 'We are in exclusive negotiations with Ford,' BMW spokesman Juerg Dinner said. GM Europe spokesman Tony LaRocca, speaking from his office in Zurich, Switzerland, called the report 'speculation' and refused to comment on it, AP reported.